The good fight continues in Chicago's rep houses | Bleader

The good fight continues in Chicago's rep houses

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Hallelujah, Im a Bum! screens Wednesday at 7:30 PM at the Portage.
  • Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! screens Wednesday at 7:30 PM at the Portage.
Mark Neveldine or Brian Taylor recently commented on the duo's shared Twitter account that he loved Ridley Scott's Prometheus because it represented "the triumph of movie logic over real logic." That's the sort of praise that tells you more about the critic than the work in question, but it makes me curious to see Prometheus all the same (if only I could overlook that it was directed by Ridley Scott . . .). I thought of that comment over the weekend when I attended the Music Box's screening of The Gang's All Here. The film, which seems to have materialized straight from Busby Berkeley's id, marks a historic victory in the movies' war on logic, and it's as valiant an effort as Buñuel and Dali's Un Chien Andalou or Chuck Jones's Duck Amok.

The battle rages on this week with revivals of the great Al Jolson musical Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! (playing Wednesday at the Portage) and Joe Dante's Gremlins 2: The New Batch (playing Friday at the Music Box). Both films play like live-action cartoons, brimming with one-liners, visual gags, and deliberate breaks from common sense. In these movies, the whole world seems capable of being taken apart and being reassembled at will—and the filmmakers seem well aware of what that might imply politically. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! contains rhyming conversations about radical politics and a sprightly musical number called "What Do You Want With Money?" And Gremlins 2 makes hay of Donald Trump, Ted Turner, and all the power they represent. (Dave Kehr recently described it as "one of the most ferociously anarchic films ever made.") Too bad that no one programmed one of Buñuel's Mexican melodramas (or, for that matter, one of Neveldine and Taylor's action movies) for Thursday: Chicago could have gotten three straight nights of radical silliness.

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